Farmers harvesting paddy crop at Sailaja in Jaljala Rural Municipalit-6 in Parbat district, on Wednesday, October 25, 2017. Photo: RSS

KATHMANDU:  Though harvesting of more than 80 per cent of paddy across the country has been completed, the government is yet to fix the support price of the cereal crop.

As a result of the government’s delay in fixing the price, farmers across the country are undecided about price of their paddy and are even learnt to be selling paddy at a lower price than base price of last year.

The government usually fixes support price of paddy in mid-November.

The Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD) had fixed the minimum support price of paddy for the first time after almost two decades on November 13 last year to assure that farmers get a reasonable price for their produce.

However, the inability of the government to fix the base price of paddy on time this year is expected to affect the farmers.

Meanwhile, MoAD officials accept that the price fixation process has been slightly delayed this year.

“We are facing a bit of a delay in fixing the price of paddy this year. However, MoAD is waiting for actual production figure of paddy in the country this year and the production cost of the crop that will help the government to fix the minimum rate of paddy,” said Yogendra Karki, spokesperson for MoAD.

MoAD fixes the rate of paddy in coordination with the Ministry of Supplies (MoS). Nepal Food Corporation (NFC) is the agency responsible to implement the price of paddy fixed by MoAD and MoS.

“We will set the price shortly,” said Karki, without elaborating.

MoAD had fixed the minimum support price of thick paddy last year at Rs 2,070 per quintal. Similarly, farmer price of medium-size paddy was marked at Rs 2,230 per quintal. As per Karki, the support price of paddy for the ongoing fiscal year will be close to the previous year’s rate.

MoAD had re-started to fix support price for paddy from the last fiscal, following continuous complaints from farmers that they were being deprived of a reasonable price for their produce. MoS had prepared the proposal regarding the minimum support price of paddy on the recommendation of MoAD.

Fixation of the support price also means that farmers will get a reasonable price for their harvest even if there is a huge drop in farm price. Moreover, the government is liable to purchase paddy from farmers at the support price even if the market price of paddy drops below the minimum support price.

–  HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE

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